Thursday, July 27, 2006

Summer Sunshine

Los Angeles is right beside the Pacific Ocean. That makes it continental climate doesn't it?
Much to my surprise, California is burning right now. A summer thats so hot doesn't make a good summer at all!
However, being the resourceful character that I am, I have been making the most of what I can.
Santa Monica beach one evening, dipping my feet in the cold blue waters of the Pacific, watching Mexican families swimming in oversized swimsuits, and blonde beauties bathing in joyous abandon, seagulls flying low enough to hear their wings swishing past, yatches sailing beyond the horizon and the evening sun retiring - everything was simply mesmeric. Add to that the company of two of my best friends here (N and N) , what more could someone want?
Next weekend was time for A.R. Rehman. At Hollywood Bowl, came a galaxy of Bollywood bigwigs. Rehman, Sivamani, Hariharan, Madhusree, Sukhwinder Singh, Musafir - singing to the lilting and soul-reaching tunes of Roja, Dil Se, Bombay, Yuva...under the stars, in front of an overwhelming audience of 18,000 people! I found an equal number of Indians and non-Indians. I saw a blonde girl wearing a pink saree and I saw Indian girls dressed in micro mini! :)
I found British women exchanging their love for "paneer", while Indians gorged on "tofu".
I found american undergrads swinging to Rang de Basanti, and the surprise of the evening was the song "Thodi si dhool teri.." sung by a foreigner. Articulation wasn't great but the effort was awesome!
Last weekend was alloted for Getty Museum. A sprawling structure on the green hills, it took a metro bus and a tram through hilly terrains to reach the Getty Centre. North, East, West and South Pavilions housed everything from furniture to photographs to paintings to sculpture. Arranged chronologically, it documents the paintings by Renaissance artists. The works were vivid and alive in composition. Some paintings stood out like photographs! The gardens at the Getty are another work of art. Rose garden with its fountains was a place for photography. Unfortunately we forgot the camera. :( A great day and very well spent. The only complaints were from my friends. Both Mr. N and Mr. N complained that museums are no place for men!

A few weeks of summer still remain. Lets see what those unfold!


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Me and My Friends!

" To meet and part is a way of life,
To part and meet is the hope of life."

It was on my farewell from BITS that I first came across these lines. They have remained with me ever since. I have been thinking. Nothing new about that. I always think something or the other. This time I was thinking about the people I have met and separated from, and those that I am currently in touch with, but would soon be parting from.

My school days.
My best friend had always been my sister. We were born together. From nursery to graduation- we have been together. We changed schools together, we got admitted to BITS - again together. It was only when she left me in BITS, when I realized how much I missed her.
Fortunately or unfortunately we found our own friends - people who sometimes never knew of the other's existence. This lead to a lot of confusion but that's another story.

In school one of my best buddies was Anuradha. Plaited dark hair, quiet , demure- she was my antithesis. While I jabbered on, she listened wide-eyed. What I liked best about her was the fact that she tolerated me so well. We wrote poems to each other, called each other for endless hours and managed to giggle at the most inappropriate things! I am glad I am still in touch with her.

BITS, Pilani
In BITS, I had several friends. There were a gang of bongs whom we chatted and laughed with occassionally. Indro, SUL, Manocha,Kaushik - each of them had their unique brand of humour.

Mandeep in third year, Harini and Jitesh in fourth year were my constant companions. I learnt a lot from them. Laughing, joking and chatting away. Mandeep made my physics classes enjoyable, Harini and Jitesh helped me enjoy my EEE. I am thankful to each of them. They are miles away from me now and only time can tell whether we will meet again.

My BITSian life would be incomplete without a mention of Rahul. MISra was my id-sidey. He was MIS and I was RIS. Our friendship began in the cyberworld of "pine" - one email led to another. From pins to politics to planes to philosophy - we left no subject undiscussed. It was an enriching experience for me. An amazing poet, a tennis-pro and above all a wonderful friend. I just wish we met more often in person than in the cyberworld!

Sushant ,Aditya, Deepak were two people I had met for only a little while. My training days would not have been as enjoyable without them there.

In UCLA...
I came here knowning no one. Having no friends. Its a scary thought to reach a place where you know none. Hence the people who made me face this strange world will forever be dear to me.
Xi - became one of my best friends here. And the first international friend I have. Shantha told me stories from the mythologies(she has an amazing memory) and made me feel like a child again, when I felt sad and lonely.

Nitin is another great person to know. He is very patient with my endless nonsense and was one of the first people I came to know here. I learnt from him that one needs to "fight" to get to the "right" place.

Nitesh- he is a genius. If its not his intelligence then its his humility that bowls people over. Extremely helpful, I had bugged him with unending circuitous questions for almost 2 quarters - all of which he explained to me tirelessly. A li'll stubborn but a great person!

I learnt a lot about myself and the world from all these people. Each of them have made an indelible impression in my heart. I learnt to accept differences. A great friendship doesn't mean that you never fight- it means you grow together. Sometimes, its the fights that make one understand each other better. I also learnt to forgive and forget.

I just hope that as days go by, I get to make more such amazing friends!


Monday, July 10, 2006

Half a Globe and back!

3 weeks was all I got at home. A flight that took me across half the world, and brought me home, well not exactly. I landed on hot Hyderabad from cool LA. A week there involved each day filled with an activity. "Fanaa" (mushy tale with melodramatic nonsense) and "Phir Hera Pheri" (loud and comic) at Hyderabad Central was a learning experience. I learnt not to buy tickets without reading the review!
Laser Show - marvellous play of water and laser light at Lumbini Park, roaming in Charminar in search for "churi's", kesar kulfi at a roadside stall, famous Hyderabadi biriyani, bangalore visit for 12 hours, ISB campus visit, Shopper's Stop ...and yes sleep at nights filled my days at Hyd.
I got to see the IIMB campus- lush green and bordered by forest, it reminded me in part of BITS, Pilani.
I saw ISB campus too and well I found it cleaner and greener. Its a huge campus, and the students get to stay at "villages"! in rooms fitted with AC.

Kolkata. City of Joy.
The place is timeless. It looked the same as I had left it almost a year back. The buses are no match for the Big Blue Buses here, but the people there speak a language that sounds sweeter to my ears. At Kol you get a receipt for the money you pay (a ticket!) , while in LA you just give the quarters away! I remember as a child, I had a hobby for collecting tickets and comparing my stock with my playmates. Am sure no child in US will ever get to cultivate such a hobby! :)
I watched some movies and soaps on TV. The soaps here never change. Women dress up in the gaudiest of dresses and wear tons of makeup for just being at home and bicker with each other over men and materials! Either the daughter or the mother-in-law is oppressed, while the man decides between being more of a hubby or a son.
Bengali Food and loads of it, Digital Fortress by Dan Brown, chatting on phone, talking - I learnt that there were so many things that I had forgotten. I learnt that there was so much I never thought about. I learnt that I knew very little about the ways of the world and there was still so much to know! Ironically, my learning was more at my home than at the university where I have come!

I went to Akshardham Temple in Noida. It's an amazing piece of architectural excellence. Expansive, green, wooden and stony. The "Musical Fountain" is a treat to the eyes. 5 years of toiling and crores of money went into this project. I am glad I visited it.

I am back now - travellling the same half of the globe again. The journey was uneventful except for a turbulence in midair. The plane jerked and jumped and made me wish for a little more time - to live. My wish was granted. I am back.

3 weeks passed in the blink of an eye. I did what I could within those few days but there is something I wish I had done but couldn't. Hope I get time for that.
Till next time...